Noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.
Daily Press Briefing:
– Secretary-General Remarks
– Deputy Secretary-General Travel
– Afghanistan Humanitarian
The Secretary-General is gravely concerned by the latest developments regarding Gaza. Today’s firing of a rocket from Gaza towards Israel is a serious and unacceptable violation.
We are also aware of the latest reports of firing on Gaza and are monitoring events.
We urge all side to exercise maximum restraint.
The Secretary-General is set to meet tomorrow with his Special Coordinator, Nickolay Mladenov, who is also scheduled to brief the Security Council in person and where he will discuss the latest developments. This is a pre-scheduled briefing.
We continue to work with Egypt and all concerned parties to try to de-escalate the situation and again, encourage restraint. Further escalation is likely to make an already bad situation worse, in particular for civilians in and close to Gaza.
This morning, the Secretary-General spoke at a meeting of the General Assembly to mark the International Day [for] the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
He said that this an occasion for all of us to renew our promise to end racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, including social and ethnic discrimination, anti-Muslim hatred and anti-Semitism.
The Secretary-General said that the massacre at two mosques in New Zealand two Fridays ago is the latest tragedy rooted in such poison, noting that he visited the Islamic Center in New York on Friday to show his solidarity and express his outrage.
Today and every day, he stressed that we must stand united against racial and religious hatred and the terrorism of bigots, adding that no country or community is immune.
The Secretary-General noted that he has asked his Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, to bring together the UN system to design a strategy and plan of action to combat hate speech.
And at 3 p.m. this afternoon, he will speak again at a General Assembly, this time at a meeting to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, and the theme of this year is “Remember Slavery: Power of the Arts for Justice.”
We expect the Secretary-General to express his support for the artists, writers and poets committed to the struggle for racial equality and empowerment.
And as a reminder, the Secretary-General will do a stakeout tomorrow morning at 9:45 a.m. focusing on the devastation caused by the cyclone in Southern Africa.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL TRAVELS
The Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, is traveling to Bangkok after attending the 20th session of the Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa in Marrakesh, in Morocco, over the weekend.
On Saturday, she spoke at that session [and said] that 2019 will be a defining year to deliver the promises we made to humanity through the 2030 Agenda and Africa’s 2063 Agenda.
Put in simple terms, she said, we need to accelerate to meet the ambitions that we have set for ourselves. Action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is still to reach the scale required to address the increasingly complex and interlinked challenges facing humanity and our planet.
She added that our youth potential remains underused, hindering the ability of girls and boys to shape not only our future – but our present.